Background and aims
Campaigns providing information about illness may help to overcome social stigma against people with mental health problems. This study evaluates the efficacy of an educational project conducted among teenagers attending high school, aimed at increasing mental health knowledge and challenging negative stereotypes linked to mental illness.
A group of high-school students aged between 16 and 18 years underwent a training consisting of four instructive and interactive lessons with multimedia material. Students completed Haghighat’s Standardized Stigmatization Questionnaire (SSQ) to assess stigmatising processes before the first lesson and at the end of the last lesson.
Students showed a significant reduction of stigma attributed to mental disorders by other members of the community after the acquisition of new information about mental health.
The lack of knowledge on mental health and psychic distress is a key factor in determining the phenomena of social stigma, and brief educational trainings can positively change reported attitudes towards people with mental illness.